The 1982 Keene State College women’s gymnastics team has the distinction of become the first gymnastics program to be indicted into the Keene State College Alumni/Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jan Eyman, a 1975 KSC grad, who along with her husband Wally served as coaches of the team, was surprised by the honor. ”When a program goes by the wayside, you don’t expect this type of honor,” she said. “But it was a nice program and we enjoyed every minute of it.”
Wally’s expertise was in teaching and spotting the athletes while Jan served as the team’s choreographer and organizer.
The 1982 team was small but talented. “Everyone was good and everybody counted, that’s what made it unique said Jan Eymen. “We utilized the entire roster. It was required that everybody be on and hit their routine to be able to have such an awesome season. Everything clicked that year.
The eight-member team was led by Kim Dischino, a three –time All-America all-around athlete from Hackettstown, N.J. “She was a young women loaded with raw talent,” Eyman recalled. Others of the team included Paula Bryant, a rock solid all-around competitor, hard-working Christel Wooten, floor exercise specialist Karen Levinson, and Sharon Selders who competed in floor exercise and vaulting. Jackie Grady noted for her performances on the balance beam, along with Caroline Bensley and Karen Ellingwood round out the team.
Posting a perfect 17-0 record and placing second in the EAIAW Championships, Keene State had the honor of hosting the historic last AIAW Division III Champion ship that year. “We pulled out all the stops for the competition,” said Eyman. “We had record attendance and special affects. It was wild”
“The team competed in a frenzy trance,” she added. We hit just about the best we could. We were just right on and couldn’t have picked a better time to do it.”
“The team was really spirited, worked hard and loved what they were doing,” said Paula Bryant Snide, now living in Swanzey. The coach was also a key part of our success. They knew when to have fun and when to be serious.”
The Keene State women’s gymnastics program was disbanded in 1984. After traveling around the country, Wally and Jan Eyman settled in Whitney, Texas. Wally, who runs gymnastics equipment company, just patented and introduced a spring balance beam to the market. Jan, who has spent the past five years of the state chairman for Texas Women Gymnastics, is also a nationally rated gymnastics judge.